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Brooklyn Nets’ Ben Simmons, proper, drives in opposition to San Antonio Spurs’ Jeremy Sochan through the first half of an NBA basketball recreation Tuesday, Jan. 17, 2023, in San Antonio.
AP Photograph/Darren Abate
A three-game losing streak and lacking their finest participant nonetheless isn’t sufficient to fear the Nets simply but. Brooklyn has been without its famous person Kevin Durant due to an MCL sprain that’s beginning to eerily carry again reminiscences of final season.
Nonetheless, the temper contained in the Nets locker room is completely different, in accordance to the gamers, and the assumption that they will climate the storm without Durant remained important. A part of that perception stems from the rather more congenial ambiance among the many group than final yr.
“It was kind of a toxic environment,” Nic Claxton instructed the New York Submit. “We didn’t know if everybody wanted to be here at the time. This year there’s no divide between everybody that’s out there. We’re going to figure it out. … We’ve just got to figure out how to play with each other without having KD, Kyrie [Irving] out there on the court. It’s different lineups. But we’ll figure it out.”
Claxton was probably pointing to the chaos that engulfed the Nets season for practically the entire yr. The remark appeared to additionally level to James Harden’s displeasure with Brooklyn in direction of the tip of his quick tenure in Kings County.
The NBA star ultimately compelled a commerce to Philadelphia with Ben Simmons coming to the Nets.
Prior to the harm to Durant, the Nets had been taking part in a few of their finest basketball and had been drama free for greater than a month. They’d simply come off the most effective month of basketball they’ve had in a while and labored their method all the way in which again into the highest of the Japanese Convention.
Realistically, the Nets are in a greater spot than final season when Durant was injured, particularly with Kyrie Irving within the lineup full-time. Irving did miss Tuesday’s loss with proper calf soreness, however he was listed as possible for Thursday’s recreation in Phoenix.
Brooklyn additionally has a head coach in Jacque Vaughn who has instilled a brand new mentality into the group. And with Durant or anybody else out, he gained’t settle for any excuses if the crew doesn’t play up to the usual he thinks they will play at.
“I’m going to continue to preach that to the group. Not looking for any excuses,” Vaughn mentioned. “That’s just who we are. I don’t care about last year. I care about the now. (This) was the most important game. Now I’m trying to reload and be ready for Phoenix. But I’m not going to give them a chance to have excuses.”